More than 1,000 women working for the Publicis Groupe in Australia stand to benefit with the local launch of the Groupe’s global VivaWomen! initiative.
VivaWomen! is the Publicis Groupe’s business resource group for women and their allies, founded in Paris to “empower and inspire action and collaboration to ensure the equal contribution and value of women in the ‘Power of One’.”
A group of women from various Publicis Groupe brands — Sarah Palmer and Melinda Geertz from Leo Burnett; Shelby Robinson from Sapient Razorfish; Julie Dormand from Mercer Bell; and Pauly Grant from Publicis Media — came together to create a bespoke program for VivaWomen! in Australia.
Their aim was to ensure that VivaWomen! champions a positive, progressive voice for women and helps drive real outcomes that support and enable all women in the Publicis Groupe to thrive.
Leo Burnett Australia CEO Melinda Geertz said, “VivaWomen! is an accelerator for change, and I’m so proud to be part of the team bringing this initiative to Australia.
“There’s a grassroots momentum driving progressive conversations about diversity and gender, and there’s a growing expectation that organisations step up and meet the challenges.
“It’s an exciting time for change, and we have a responsibility to make the most of it for every woman working in our Groupe.”
Mercer Bell MD Julie Dormand said, “We consulted with a broad group of women to make sure that VivaWomen! in Australia drives real outcomes – with programs that genuinely support and enable the 1000+ women in our Groupe to thrive.”
As its first initiative, VivaWomen! has driven the development and launch of a new parental leave policy.
The policy, which is rolling out across the Groupe this year, addresses a number of aspects of parental leave, including industry-leading parental leave payments, as well as flexibility and increased support during the return-to-work months.
Leo Burnett Australia head of talent Sarah Palmer added, “Many of us have children, and we know firsthand how important it is to have the right financial, workplace and cultural supports in place.
“There’s nothing easy about balancing family and work. We saw it as imperative to create a parental leave policy that went well beyond the basics, so Hugh Wilson (head of talent at Publicis) and I consulted broadly to get this right.”
In addition, this month, VivaWomen! launches its “Mentoring in the Mid-Years” program.
170 women from 13 different brands will participate in events and workshops in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
The program recognises the particular challenges of women in their mid-careers and aims to help them build the confidence, tools and motivation to step up into senior roles in their agencies.
Other priority programs in 2018 will focus on pay equality, unconscious bias and sexual harassment and bullying.
“VivaWomen! must be a program of action and outcomes. We are all deeply committed; we see how much everyone – women AND men — in our Groupe want this from us.
“I’m proud that our Groupe values fairness and equality, and that they stand behind us in our efforts to support and promote our amazing women,” said Melinda Geertz.